How Piggly Wiggly Gave Us Smart Phones | 47

The Piggly Wiggly grocery store chain isn’t known for its technology, but the system it uses to restock it shelves has changed the word.


music by Dyalla Swain


hello and welcome to parking thought the
show where we highlight the good in the
world from the extraordinary to the
everyday you’re going to want to like
and subscribe wherever you happen to
find us
curiosity meet gratitude my name is
Jacob and I’m glad you’re here today
in this edition you’re gonna be noticing
that I might have a little bit of a
stuffy nose I’ve been recovering from a
bit of a cold here and once again I am
recording this at the top of biggest
one of the ski resorts that is in the
area just outside of Boise we’ve had a
gorgeous day of snow my son has been
able to do a lot of good skiing and
we’re about to head down the mountain
I’m waiting for the car to warm up so I
can go pick him up and we can get going
but I wanted to tell you guys the story
about how the device that you’re
listening up to this on has to or has
some of its influence in a grocery store
chain Piggly Wiggly and I’m not sure if
you’re aware of this but our world is so
significantly interconnected that we
oftentimes don’t realize how one thing
leads to another just the same way that
the dust that reaches a certain altitude
in the atmosphere will impact how many
hurricanes we have in the fall that dust
comes from the Sahara Desert in order to
make that impact Piggly Wiggly let’s
talk about Piggly Wiggly Piggly Wiggly
either was or still is a grocery store
chain back in the middle part of the
United States you know typically around
where some of our manufacturing centers
are Michigan and those sorts of areas
and a Japanese manufacturer know I came
to the United States after World War two
you to see how the Americans were able
to build their cars how they were able
to do it at such great and tremendous
you know skill and he went and he looked
through all the factories and learned
from forward and from GM and those guys
and and was not able to really see
anything he could scale back his small
company back in Japan was really
struggling the economy overall was
there weren’t enough people in the
country who had enough wealth to buy
cars in an expensive rate that he
couldn’t adopt the mass production style
that was there in the United States of
produce produce produce and somebody
will buy and so you know he was really
downtrodden that after trying all the
factories and plants he wasn’t able to
learn anything that would you’d be able
to take back and really make a
difference with back at his home plant
and that that was concerning because
especially at that point in time trying
to find a way to make ends meet
wasn’t just about you know making enough
money so you could feed your family it
was about making sure that people could
move forward with life and recover after
the war had devastated them and so this
gentleman while he was traveling you
know needed to eat and he went to the
grocery store he went to Piggly Wiggly
and he started noticing something he
noticed that when food would disappear
off the shelves it would get quickly
replaced that there was some sort of a
system for making sure that food when it
was missing would get replaced and he
started studying this system and looking
at how it impacted everything down the
supply chain and he realized that the
American manufacturing in the automobile
industry of pushing things through the
assembly line at mass rates couldn’t be
replicated but the idea of polling
information through the assembly line
that he saw in the grocery store could
be so he brought that technology or that
system back and let’s call it a
technology it truly is it’s a different
system he brought that system of polling
resources through an assembly line right
as they are needed and he brought that
through and made it a philosophy not
only for him but for all of the workers
and the staff at the automobile plant
and they got pretty good at it and they
got really good at it over time
and over time they became more well
known so much and the company had gotten
so successful they were able to not only
sell their cars in the United States but
also ship them to other parts of the
world and this especially happened in
the s with the gas crisis because
the cars were lighter and they were
better or more fuel-efficient he also
was able to ship them in greater
quantities all over the world during the
the world you know emerged from our into
a great era of prosperity and so this
automobile company that took its
influence from Piggly Wiggly you know
started getting the attention of a lot
of other people from a lot of other
industries noticing how they did it and
what they did and a lot of the tech
companies that were young and starting
off didn’t have a whole lot of resources
especially in the late s early s
mid s even today a lot of those
industries you know where there weren’t
a whole lot of resources had to adopt
systems that were not designed to push
out a whole lot of cars or a whole lot
of product at one time but rather
respond to the idea that somebody wanted
to buy it and pull that information
through the whole supply chain until it
could be useful well I mean I’m sure you
know how this story goes pretty much all
of our modern manufacturing is
influenced by that system of polling
information polling product as it’s
needed to when it’s needed and being
able to make sure that we have a lean
production system we don’t have
inventory just sitting around places and
the guy who travels back to the states
was named taiichi ohno and he worked for
a small automobile company in Japan that
you might know today is Toyota and
Toyota not only makes good vehicles I
don’t happen to be in one right now we
do happen to have one I know you know
somebody that happens to have one but
the Toyota Production system the idea of
lean production systems or you pull the
product through the assembly line when
it’s needed instead of producing excess
and producing excess waste is one of the
reasons why when we had small tech
companies including those that may sound
big today but weren’t take a lot of risk
and be able to manufacture devices and
things like that that we enjoy your
device that you’re listening to this on
now is produced using the lean
production system and there’s
opportunities in that philosophy and in
that model in that production system to
make even more improvement so the future
will be better but it’s interesting that
an idea in a grocery store
for an automobile manufacturer would
lead to the ability to have our devices
that can connect us with the world and
the world’s history and the world’s
information and with each of us that’s
worth noticing paying attention to today
so let’s wrap this episode up this is
the part where I tell you that the best
way to say thank you for this podcast is
to share it with someone you know I’ll
let you decide who that is but I’ll bet
you already have somebody in mind you
didn’t know this before if you’re
looking to join us for the long haul or
just this episode we’re still glad
you’re here but for the long haul folks
feel free to subscribe by going over to
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ry TV and at the end of every episode I
like to remind the audience remember in
a world where you can choose to be
anything why not choose to be grateful

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